Intense start to the year for the Popocatépetl Volcano: it registered an explosion and 106 exhalations

After a few days with low volcanic activity, Popocatepetl started the year registering 106 exhalations. In the same way, it added 180 minutes with tremor and registered an explosion in the first hours of the new year. Given the growing activity in the colossus, the National Coordination of Civil Protection of the Government of Mexico chose to place the Volcanic Alert traffic light in phase 2 of yellow color.

According to the monitoring of the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED), the last five days the volcano did not exceed 40 exhalations. In that period, the day with the highest activity was Sunday, December 27, when 39 were recorded. However, lThe calm broke during the last hours. Since 10 a.m. on the last day of 2020 and at the same time on January 1, 2021, it exceeded 100 exhalations.

Although there are days with twice the number of registered events and the current situation does not represent a high risk situation for the populations surrounding Don Goyo, the event drew attention due to the explosion registered in the early hours of the year. At 3:14 am the volcano expelled some incandescent fragments at a short distance from the crater.

Popocatepetl presented 106 exhalations and an explosion in the last 24 hours (Photo: CENAPRED)
Popocatepetl presented 106 exhalations and an explosion in the last 24 hours (Photo: CENAPRED)

Since the occurrence of the event in the early morning, it has also been possible to observe the cconstant emission of volcanic gases and ash. According to CENAPRED monitoring, the column reached the 600 meters high and its dispersion was reported in a northeast direction towards the entities of Puebla and Tlaxcala.

Until 3:00 p.m. on January 1, 2021, the constant dispersion of the column of volcanic gases and ash from the capital of the state of Puebla was still perceived. Likewise, the report corresponding to the activity of the Popocatepetl Volcano today, and the first hours of January 2, will be published by CENAPRED tomorrow at 10 am.

With the sudden increase in the volcanic activity of Popocatépetl, the Civil Protection authorities decreed Phase 2 of the yellow color in the Volcanic Warning Traffic Light. In this color, the surrounding population is recommended to remain vigilant and prepare for a possible evacuation.

Phase 2 yellow alert due to increased volcanic activity (Photo: Twitter @ CNPC_MX)
Phase 2 yellow alert due to increased volcanic activity (Photo: Twitter @ CNPC_MX)

This phase is decreed when it is displayed the plume of water vapor and gas, ash fall is recorded in nearby areas and the fall of incandescent fragments is reported. Similarly, the growth and destruction of lava domes is expected, there is the possibility of the fall of pyroclastic flows due to explosions, as well as short-range mud or debris flows.

According to CENAPRED, Mexico is home to around 40 active volcanoes. Among them, Colima and Popocatepetl are not only considered the most active, but also the most dangerous. The risk is determined according to the proximity of human settlements in the vicinity of the colossi. Don Goyo, for his part, is located in the limits of Puebla, Morelos and the State of Mexico and it is estimated that In a radius of less than 100 kilometers there are about 25 million people.

Monitoring of the volcano has intensified in recent years. Specifically since its awakening in 1994, when due to the increase and intensification of its activity, it was necessary to evacuation of about 50,000 people. On that occasion the volcano emitted ash for the first time in more than 70 years.

December 18 and 19, 2000 was the last time the volcano had a violent eruption. He threw incandescent material and stones that reached up to a meter in diameter. Since December 15, the evacuation of more than 40,000 people began and 14,000 were transferred to temporary shelters.

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